Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon considers moving Carlos Peña from cleanup to fifth

FORT MYERS — The lineup the Rays used Monday produced a team-record seven homers in an 11-9 win over the Red Sox. But it's the lineup they'll use starting April 6 that Joe Maddon is still working on, now pondering a version that has Ben Zobrist hitting third, Evan Longoria fourth and Carlos Peña fifth.

With the top and bottom of the order set, Maddon is trying to maximize the middle and remains intrigued by having Zobrist, and his high on-base percentage, in front of his top sluggers. And after saying earlier Peña would remain fourth, Maddon is giving it further thought, planning a decision by next week.

"Zobrist hitting third gets protected by these guys, whereas otherwise if he's not there there's really no reason to pitch to him as you might because you don't want him on base for Longo and Peña," Maddon said. "Coming off the year that Zobrist had last year, he's going to get a lot more attention paid to him, so there's a bunch of little things I'm thinking about there."

Peña said he preferred to hit cleanup, but "Joe is a smart guy, and I just trust his judgment." Longoria said and Zobrist has said it doesn't matter to them.

STEP BACK FOR JOYCE: OF Matt Joyce's return to the outfield will be pushed until at least next week after he had a setback Monday during a throwing session in his recovery from a right elbow strain.

Joyce was targeted to play the field Thursday or Friday but said he "couldn't put the zip" on the ball from 90 feet. "From what they told me, it's probably not going to be as early as I hoped because we're not where we thought we'd be," Joyce said. "I'm trying to get out there as soon as I can — I've got that itch."

MORE MEDICAL: C Dioner Navarro (nerve bruise left shin) expects to be on crutches for a few more days, but the Rays remain confident he'll return before the end of the exhibition season. … OF Gabe Kapler (right hip tightness) should return Wednesday.

DRIVE FOR FIVE: Maddon reiterated that he wants to make a decision soon on the fifth spot in the rotation so RHPs Wade Davis and Andy Sonnanstine will "be able to just get themselves ready," though it might not come until after they pitch again at end of the week.

If both make the 12-man staff, it seems much more likely Davis will start and Sonnanstine relieve, though Maddon said it's "still the company line" that Davis could end up in the bullpen.

Sonnanstine had mixed results in a Triple-A game Monday in Port Charlotte, hitting his first two batters and allowing four runs on five hits in a 69-pitch, four-inning outing.

But his plan to feature his changeup went well, and he and assistant to the pitching coach Stan Boroski were pleased. "I've never thrown it with that much conviction in my life," Sonnanstine said. "So I feel really good about it."

Davis has had a poor spring, going 1-1, 10.24, working more than two innings only once and allowing 25 of 52 batters to reach. Maddon said he isn't concerned and spoke briefly with Davis on Monday.

"He's fine, he's healthy, he's throwing well. Maybe he's not fine-tuned," Maddon said. "I also believe the thought or the uncertainty of what's going on with him right now probably plays into this a little bit for him."

GAME DETAILS: After taking an 11-1 lead into the seventh, the Rays (13-6) hung on — barely — for an 11-9 win as RHP Winston Abreu and LHP Carlos Hernandez, candidates for the open spot in the bullpen, struggled. … Opening day starter RHP James Shields overcame a rough start and had a solid 52/3-inning, 88-pitch outing. "I liked Shields a lot," Maddon said. … Kelly Shoppach and Longoria hit two homers each, Longoria's second to left-center hitting the scoreboard where his name was in lights. Sean Rodriguez (his sixth), Zobrist and Hank Blalock also went deep.

MISCELLANY: Selection of the new Trop PA voice is close; radio personality Ronnie Lane wasn't chosen. … B.J. Upton (3-for-4, a homer), Joyce (2-for-5, homer) and Dan Wheeler (12/3 IP, 4 H, 3 Ks) all played in minor-league games in Port Charlotte. Upton was there as part of the plan to get him 70-80 spring plate appearances.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon considers moving Carlos Peña from cleanup to fifth 03/22/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 22, 2010 9:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …